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Comment: Re:Google Maps -- flawed, but still pretty good (Score 1) 218

by beej (#39303099) Attached to: Apple Switches (Mostly) To OpenStreetMap

I've found a lot of mistakes with Google Maps, but I still find it invaluable for plotting real-time routes by incorporating traffic information.

Agreed. I use it frequently. Not to mention the public transit tie-in. Yesterday I dropped my motorcycle off at the shop, and punched up Google maps, and it routed me right home on the bus.

Does OpenStreetMap link to real-time traffic info?

That's beyond the scope of the project. A third-party project could definitely do that mash-up, though.

Some OSM contributors might dispute this characterization, but OSM is about the map data far more than it is about the presentation of that data. Anyone can build whatever renderer they choose to present the OSM data, and that renderer can be selective about what to present in order to make a map that is appropriate for some particular use, e.g. ski runs or rollerblade-friendly streets. The OSM main page happens to default to the mapnik renderer, but you can switch between several by hitting the "+" icon in the upper right.

Comment: Re:Maps? (Score 3, Interesting) 218

by beej (#39293203) Attached to: Apple Switches (Mostly) To OpenStreetMap

I won't speak of the "audible" part, since that's just a small matter of programming.

Turn by turn is... complicated. Of course, you can upload OSM maps on your Garmin right now and get turn by turn instructions. However, accuracy is a factor.

The amount of information needed to drive through a city is absolutely astounding, as is the frequency with which it changes. For example, a street near my house is closed mornings and evenings to vehicle traffic, except weekends and holidays and June through August. That data has to be in there to accurately route. "No left turn, 4-6 PM Monday through Friday." "No northbound traffic except bicycles." "Carpools only 7 AM to 10 AM"--God help us.

Not to mention just plain errors in the data. Near my house, an overpass was accidentally connected to the freeway. My Garmin with OSM data wanted to route me off the freeway directly onto the overpass. (I fixed the error.)

Realignments don't happen that often in cities any more in the US, but they happen on country roads and interstates *all the time*. I didn't realize until I started contributing to OSM exactly how much construction was always happening.

Highway 36 west of Red Bluff, CA, was recently realigned. Google even has it wrong for now: http://g.co/maps/mhdkm . And check this out: Google wants me to drive on a hiking trail: http://g.co/maps/jpxr8 I'm not saying they suck--Google's map quality is *exceptional*, and yet it errs. But I'd say that for turn-by-turn, it has OSM currently beat.

I guess what I'm saying is... uh, contribute to OSM. :-)

Comment: Re:So Windows 95 was the first OS with a gui? (Score 1) 988

by beej (#37798872) Attached to: Jobs Wanted To Destroy Android

Oh, you guessed! Does this mean I don't win the stuffed wombat?

There is always prior art for everything. Apple, Microsoft, and Google have all been liberally inspired by each other, and by a great many other companies. It can always be said that a different company did it first, and if not, that a different company was the first to do it right. And after a few evolutions, the noise restarts again. Where's the hacker love? Can't we just appreciate these awesome machines for what they are?

Comment: Subscribers (Score 1) 100

by beej (#37786102) Attached to: Google Reader's Social Features Merging With Google+

I post things to my Reader feed. I don't have *that* many subscribers, but I'd like to replicate the experience in G+. Namely:

1. Third parties should be able to subscribe/unsubscribe to my feed
2. My feed should not be shown to non-subscribers in my G+ circles
3. I should be able to add stories to my feed with a bookmarklet
4. People should be able to subscribe to my feed with an RSS reader

AFAIK, all of this is currently impossible in G+. So... it's a downgrade for the moment.

Comment: Re:Good Question (Score 1) 2288

by beej (#35888908) Attached to: Why Does the US Cling To Imperial Measurements?

Same with miles. For comparison, here are all the numbers by which 1000 is evenly divisible:

2 4 5 8 10 20 25 40 50 100 125 200 250 500

and here are all the numbers by which 5280 is evenly divisible:

2 3 4 5 6 8 10 11 12 15 16 20 22 24 30 32 33 40 44 48 55 60 66 80 88 96 110 120 132 160 165 176 220 240 264 330 352 440 480 528 660 880 1056 1320 1760 2640


In practice, though, I prefer metric--only so many divisions are practically useful to me. I GPS a lot and I found that after I set the unit to metric, I became used to it in a relatively short amount of time. Eventually I just got to know both, sometimes mixing systems in the same sentence.

Comment: Re:Unnecessary complexity (Score 1) 164

by beej (#35272318) Attached to: Python 3.2 Released

I see no change that makes it simpler to use, no change that requires less code than the former version.

"I mean, if you've seen one change, you've seen 'em all."

"And have you seen them all?"

"Well, I've seen one. Well, a little one... a picture of a... I've heard about them."

Unicode and binary data handling. That's enough for me, right there. The new command line parsing stuff is more concise than getopt. And it parses JSON, too.

Not everyone is going to like every change, but declaring you've seen no change for the better out of the huge number of changes just means you haven't looked enough.

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354